A Middle Tennessee youth baseball league hosts some of the most extraordinary games you will ever see, full of children who never, ever expected to put on a uniform.
Buddy Ball in Lawrenceburg's Cal Ripken Baseball League doesn't look all that different from other youth baseball games. In fact, the players, who have special needs, get to be pretty ordinary. And that makes them feel pretty darn good.
"Everybody's included. Everybody gets to bat. Everyone gets to come around the bases. Everyone gets to score," said Commissioner Tommy Lee Kidd.
Kidd loves these games, and he encourages these players to break every rule of baseball.
"This is the best thing this community has ever done," Kidd said.
If traditional youth sports are competitive, impatient and often demanding, Buddy Ball is none of that.
The stands are always full of friends, family and even people like Jeff and Sherry West. They don't have a child on the field or a grandchild.
They are just fans.
"It's a blessing when you come out here and see these kids. It's just a blessing to watch these kids. Your heart just pounds when you watch them run the bases," Jeff West said.
"I told Tommy about a year ago we were having some struggles. We would pray about it and pray about it. I would say, 'God, show up and show me your work today,'" Sherry West said. "God said, 'You go sit on that bench and watch, and I'll give you peace.' And that's what we did, and we haven't missed a ball game since."
They come to watch kids like Chase Pryor. Forget about waiting for the perfect pitch. With Chase, you must wait for that perfect swing. Hitting the ball from a tee, one of his at-bats took almost two minutes, but the joy in his wild detour down to first base made the wait worth it.
The players show a true love for the game, and they live for Buddy Ball.
"This is the game where you cannot leave without something happening in your heart," Kidd said.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:12 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:12:28 GMT
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